AAJ Midwinter convention day 1
I’m sitting on the 3rd floor balcony of Loews Hotel on South Beach. Aviator sunglasses, white rolled up jeans, black flat gladiator sandals, a black tied around the neck blousy shirt with little rosettes. My hair which can behave so badly in Seattle, is soft and poofy and blowing in the strong warm breeze. You’d probably think I was on vacation except I have a computer on my lap.
I began attending AAJ conventions a decade ago. The first time I went, I clung to my then law partner Pat LePley’s side. There were so many people – so many of them loud people. It was overwhelming. Over the years I’ve developed friendships. I love seeing everyone and hearing about what they’ve been up to.
I hear a scary fact today that reminds me that AAJ is not just about building relationships. The billions spent by powerful lobby groups is being discussed. The Chamber of Commerce has a budget of $100M. Big Pharma $30 M. The insurance companies and big corporations gazillions of millions. So who speaks up for the rights of the little folk. I learn that AAJ has an annual lobbying budget of $2M. How have we managed to preserve the right to jury trial and prevent total destruction of the civil justice system when we are a financial peanut compared to these Big Guys.
I’m not the most political person in the world. But I do feel good about supporting AAJ. Plus being on this deck is a pretty nice little deal.